The over-representation of indigenous children in the Australian child welfare system
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Similar to other wealthy countries with colonised indigenous populations, Australia's indigenous children, those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, are seriously over-represented in the child welfare system. The specific dimensions of this problem warrant detailed examination. It is useful to consider factors such as rates of entry to care, length of stay and the nature of services in order to understand the problem more fully. This article uses child protection, out-of-home care, and juvenile justice administrative data to examine levels of disproportionality at key decision points in the child welfare system. The data show that child welfare interventions are persistently more intrusive for indigenous children, and that levels of disproportionality have not improved over time. More comprehensive child and family welfare policies are needed to address indigenous disadvantage. Despite calls by indigenous community agencies for more input to decision-making, their participation in the Australian child welfare system remains marginal.
International Journal of Social Welfare
Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.The definitive version is available at www.interscience.wiley.com
Social Program Evaluation
Social Work not elsewhere classified